Football

Nani makes Portugal's final World Cup squad

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Paulo Bento has identified the 23 men he'll take to this summer's World Cup in Brazil - but just eight of them currently play in Portugal.

Bento's squad boasts stars from La Liga, the Premier League and the Bundesliga with treble winning Benfica only providing two players.

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo was named among the final 23, despite being troubled with a hamstring injury towards the end of the campaign.

Among those joining captain Ronaldo on the plane to Brazil are sought-after Sporting Lisbon man William Carvalho and former Chelsea and Liverpool midfielder Raul Meireles.

The surprise name in the 23-man squad is Braga midfielder Rafa. The 18-year-old has played just 45 minutes of international football and has only one season of Primeira Liga experience under his belt.

The most high-profile of the seven players to be axed from the original 30-man provisional squad is winger Ricardo Quaresma.

Despite having not featured for his country since 2012, Quaresma made the provisional squad only to be left out in favour of Nani, despite the Manchester United man having had an injury hit season.

The decision is made more surprising by the form of Quaresma who, since rejoining Porto in January, has netted seven times in 18 appearances in 2014, but Paulo Bento said: "The position of national team coach carries a lot of prestige and is not immune to criticism.

"I have to accept that people will question my decisions. Nani has difference characteristics to Quaresma."

The other players to miss out were Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, defenders Antunes of Malaga and Inter Milan's Rolando, Vitoria midfielder Joao Mario and Benfica's treble winning duo Andre Gomes and Ivan Cavaleiro.

Bento's side begin their World Cup campaign on 16th June against Germany, with Ghana and USA making up the rest of Group G.

Portugal have never lifted the World Cup but were beaten semi-finalists as recently as 2006.

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon).

Defenders: Andre Almeida (Benfica), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Fabio Coentreo (Real Madrid), Joao Pereira (Valencia), Neto (Zenit), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Valencia).

Midfielders: Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Miguel Veloso (Dinamo Kiev), Nani (Manchester United), Rafa (Braga), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Ruben Amorim (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting).

Attackers: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eder (SC Braga), Helder Postiga (Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Varela (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg).

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Topics:
Luis Nani
World Cup
Football
Cristiano Ronaldo

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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